Ski company offers to pay school fines
The debate over what to do about the inflated prices parents have to deal with in order to take their children on holiday outside of term times progresses ever further, it seems, with one ski holiday company offering a rather controversial deal.
MountainBase, a Bedford-based operator selling skiing holidays in Morzine in the French Alps, caused a storm of opinion this week after offering a deal via Facebook that directly targeted the issue.
The company said it will cover the costs incurred by any fines administered to parents who take their children outside of school for a term-time skiing holiday, with any booking made in March and April excluding the free ski pass option eligible for the deal.
Attached to the offer was a highly provocative image of a family enjoying a ski holiday, over which the words ‘Are schools taking the piste?’ were superimposed.
Following condemnation from the National Union of Teachers, who claimed holiday firms would help parents out more by lowering their prices at peak times, the company admitted that the offer encourages parents to break the law.
Lee Quince, the owner of MountainBase, blamed Britain’s illogically timed school holidays and added that “ultimately the decision [is] down to the parents.
“It is a sporting holiday and not just sitting on the beach. Skiing is a skill they can learn and develop,” he said.
However, the Department of Education reminded parents that they could well risk prosecution, higher financial penalties and a criminal record by adhering to Mr Quince’s offer.
The issue of families paying inflated prices during school holidays has become a major discussion point recently, after the Department of Education hardened its stance on parents taking their children out of school.
This has led to condemnation of the travel industry across Britain and a call for more flexibility on half term and summer holidays.